John Z. Kiss, distinguished professor and chair of botany at Miami University in Ohio, is the new dean of the University of Mississippi Graduate School. His appointment begins Sept. 1, pending approval from the board of trustees of Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning.
Kiss served 19 years as a faculty member at MU and is internationally known for his research in botany and space technology, particularly for his studies of gravity and light perception mechanisms in plants. In his new post, Kiss will assist with fundraising, resource management and faculty development, as well as research and curriculum matters.
Kiss holds a doctoral degree from the Rutgers University in botany and plant physiology. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Georgetown University.
Besides being botany chair at MU, Kiss is vice chair of the International Committee on Space Research. He also was deputy scientific organizer for gravity-related effects in plants at the COSPAR meeting in Germany and served as main scientific organizer for the organization’s meetings in Paris and Japan.
Kiss recently received MU’s prestigious Benjamin Harrison Medallion and in 2006 was named a University Distinguished Scholar. In 1997, he received the Alumni Enrichment Award from the MU Alumni Association.
He has held leadership positions in national professional associations, including serving as president of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Biology. Kiss was honored by the ASGSB in 2010 with the Orr E. Reynolds Distinguished Service Award for service above and beyond the call of duty, especially for his efforts in education, outreach and support of undergraduate and graduate students in independent research.
Kiss has co-authored 93 peer-reviewed scientific articles and 128 book reviews and has given nearly 200 invited talks. His wife, Helen, will assume a position in the UM Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. Their son, Stephen, is a junior English education major at Miami University.